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The Art of Scandal

Regina Black (Grand Central)

Infidelity is a rare and thorny topic in romancelandia, but Black makes it work in her high-heat, high-emotion debut. Rachel, the Black wife of a cheating white politician, agrees to stay in her marriage so as not to hurt her husband’s election chances. Then she meets smoldering younger artist Nathan. Their doomed attempts to resist each other keep the pages of this passionate romance flying.


Every Duke Has His Day

Suzanne Enoch (Griffin)

All the crackling wit of a Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn classic meets all the sparkle of Regency England in Enoch’s historical revamp of Bringing Up Baby. Sparks fly as a science-minded duke and a flighty debutante band together to track down their stolen poodles. Enoch keeps the suspense plot, the love story, and the comedic hijinks in perfect balance throughout.


I Am Ayah: The Way Home

Donna Hill (Sideways)

When photographer Alessandra Flemming returns to her family home in Sag Harbor, she starts seeing ghosts of her ancestors. Local ethnographer Zach Rennard offers to help her investigate and Hill uses their ensuing romance to delve into the history of African American families in the Hamptons. This stirring mix of love story, family drama, and magical realism is a testament to what the romance genre can achieve.


A Shot in the Dark

Victoria Lee (Dell)

Bestselling YA author Lee’s heart-tugging adult debut begins with a one-night stand between Eli Cohen, a Jewish bisexual aspiring photographer, and Wyatt Cole, a trans art world wunderkind and—unbeknownst to either of them—Eli’s new professor. Lee gracefully avoids the pitfalls of many student/teacher romances, potently demonstrating how mutual support helps Eli and Wyatt navigate trauma, faith, addiction, and creative blocks.


To Have and to Heist

Sara Desai (Berkley)

If Ocean’s 11 were recast with a diverse crew of scrappy millennials who only turned to thieving to clear their student loan debt, the result would be something along the lines of this uproarious action adventure/rom-com mash-up from Desai. That master criminal Jack and reluctant criminal Simi find love along the way is just the cherry on top.


We Could Be So Good

Cat Sebastian (Avon)

Two male reporters fall in love in a 1950s news room, carving out a life together despite the dangers of being gay at the time, in this achingly endearing romance. The stakes are by no means low, but the focus stays largely on the men’s sweet bubble of domesticity. Sebastian knows how to get hearts fluttering.


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